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Calvin Austin III Reveals Key Detail That Could Help Him Make Jump

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Calvin Austin III reveals a key detail that could allow him to make a leap this upcoming season.



Pittsburgh Steelers WR Calvin Austin III
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Calvin Austin III during minicamp on June 11, 2024. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Calvin Austin III had an OTAs and mandatory minicamp to remember. It means very little other than starting to experiment with some offseason fixes and elevating your confidence. But Austin was the star of the Spring, dusting cornerbacks at all three levels while maintaining his speed throughout his routes.

That last part is the critical difference for Austin. No one had to respect him underneath on curls, stop routes, and other routes that would work off his elite deep speed. But Austin looked more efficient in the spring and easily separated at all levels. He believes he was too much in his head last year about what defensive backs would do in response to him. On top of that, Austin noted that he would use his hands rather than trusting his feet.

Steelers Calvin Austin III

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Calvin Austin III at the team’s OTAs, May 28, 2024 – Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

“I had a mindset on when I would run routes that would have to be stopped on a curl, a stop route, or a comeback. My mindset was that I was too focused on the [defensive back] instead of just trusting my breaks. “I have some of the best stop-starts of anybody so it was me being too focused on the [defensive back] and trying to use my hands instead of trusting my feet and trusting my advantage,” Austin said.

In other words, Austin has his swagger back. You can go back to his college tape when guys like Sauce Gardner would praise him for his stop-start ability, and while size will always be an issue to some degree for Austin if he can separate with his speed and quickness, he could become a crucial part of the Arthur Smith offense.

He could slot into the Kalif Raymond role in the Smith offense, giving him multiple deep shots per game. Austin could work underneath and in the screen game to exploit his open-field elusiveness. And with all the questions around the wide receiver room, Austin taking a leap would be a massive boon to the offense as a whole after he struggled last year.